When Michael Ulmer noticed a shirtless man walking toward him at Alamitos Beach on Monday morning, he never expected he was about to be the final victim in a string of unprovoked stabbings that began two days earlier.
The 43-year-old Long Beach resident said he was walking on the beach near Sixth Place, something he does with his dog every morning, when he suddenly felt multiple painful pricks from behind.
Ulmer said he turned around to see the shirtless man wielding a knife with a 5-inch blade. When Ulmer put his hand to his neck, he realized he’d been stabbed, and panic began to set in.
“When I saw the blood, I had no idea how things would turn out,” Ulmer told the Long Beach Post. “You see it in movies and you think, that’s never a good thing, to be cut in the neck.”
In that moment, Ulmer yelled, “Did you just f—ing stab me?” That’s when, Ulmer said, the attacker raised the knife again and began lunging toward him.
As adrenaline kicked in, Ulmer started running across the sand toward the boardwalk while the assailant chased. Ulmer said he felt helpless and hopeless as his screams for help went unanswered.
Video posted on Instagram by Nichole East, who runs the @loveyoulongbeach account, shows Ulmer holding his neck with his right hand as the attacker follows. After a few moments, the knife-wielding man stops chasing and turns back toward the water.
Soon, another man came to Ulmer’s aid and began tending to his wounds until medics arrived. Meanwhile, police swarmed the beach and took the attacker, later identified as 21-year-old Yohance Sharp, into custody near the waterline.
According to Sharp’s girlfriend, the attack was the result of a mental health crisis. She previously told the Post that Sharp suffers from schizophrenia and had gone off his medication a few months earlier after a doctor said he could try living without it.
Sharp is now accused of using a knife to attack eight people before his arrest. He wounded one person and threatened another near his Lime Avenue apartment on Saturday night, according to police. Then on Monday, authorities say, he attacked six more, including 62-year-old Tina Hook, whom he’s accused of stabbing to death as she walked along Atlantic Avenue near Anaheim Street.
Prosecutors charged Sharp Wednesday with five counts of attempted murder, one count of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of murder. He is also facing a misdemeanor charge for obstructing an officer, according to a felony complaint filed in Long Beach Superior Court. Prosecutors say Sharp was already on probation for two prior convictions, including a 2020 incident when he wielded a knife while he chased a man through a Hawthorne park, according to police records.
But for a few inches, Sharp’s alleged stabbing spree could have been even more deadly. Ulmer said doctors at the hospital told him the knife had just missed his carotid artery, a wound that likely would’ve ended with him bleeding to death.
“Miraculous, they called it,” he said.
He was kept for observation and discharged the next day.
Ulmer, who teaches at Middle College High School in Los Angeles, said he’s lived in Long Beach for 18 years. He sees the attack that nearly killed him Monday as a random occurrence that, luckily, he survived.
“I know this guy had mental health issues,” he said. “He had a doctor, medicine and more care than a lot of people would and he still had that happen to him. I guess that can happen to anyone, anywhere.”
Despite what happened, though, he said he won’t be living in fear.
“The first thing I did when I got home was go out to the beach and let my dog finish what he was doing that morning,” Ulmer said. “I look out and see that every day; it’s not like I can ignore it.”